Tammy Kaehler: The "Pants" Method of Writing Mystery Novels



I knew a few things but I didn't do a detailed outline I'm what I consider and what people consider a seat-of-the-pants writer we call them patzers as opposed to plotters or outliners so I knew a few things going in I knew that I knew who the victim was I knew it was a dead driver I knew he was experienced and I knew what kind of person he was I knew why he became the victim why he was killed and I knew why Cate Riley my protagonist the racecar driver was compelled to be involved in the investigation that's sort of one of the keys for an amateur sleuth is you've got to have a reason for someone like a racecar driver to continually stumble over dead bodies and feel like she has to do something about it so I knew I knew a bit about the victim and my protagonist I knew the setting but I didn't know a lot of the details so I started with simply those pieces and I sat down and rode and just sort of tried to think what would happen as she went along and things developed I saw one writer that talked about the the act structure the structure of a novel and described it in a way I liked that was for mysteries three disasters and a resolution and because that sort of gives you a sense of you know you've got to have the crime to start with usually you know you can stumble over the dead body very early but you need to have sort of escalating crises and dramas that build to the peak and then you can resolve it and you know then have the have the explanation at the end once you have internalized this enough once your brain understands that structure enough it's going to come out whether you plan it or not and honestly that's about the only explanation I can give is I have spent a lifetime reading fiction and particularly mysteries and I sat down to write this book and did it did some version of that sort of without really intending to I've likened it to filling up my creative well enough that what came out was the kind of rhythm a book like that needs to be now I will say that I went back I had drafted the novel and then I went back and worked with an editor who said well you need this and the other thing and so then I did a detailed outline once I had a full draft I did a detailed outline chapter by chapter and decide okay I'm gonna add another subplot and here's where exactly I'm gonna weave it in I'm going to add a couple more clues and here's where I'm going to put them so there was some outlining in structure and plotting but only after I'd really sort of allowed myself cut my subconscious to go and be creative and explore ideas thank you for listening please review our other available content for help writing publishing and marketing your book if you have any questions about the author Learning Center please contact us by email at author support at author Learning Center calm

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